Magazine article American Libraries

Libraries Nix Flicks as Patrons Cry Partisanship

Magazine article American Libraries

Libraries Nix Flicks as Patrons Cry Partisanship

Article excerpt

In the days preceding the November 2 election, at least five city libraries cancelled their plans to offer free screenings of several documentaries focusing on the U.S. prosecution of the war on terrorism due to patron complaints that the films presented partisan viewpoints.

"There was screaming and crying on the phone," Wauconda (Ill.) Public Library Director Thomas Kern said in the October 22 Chicago Daily Herald of the reaction to the library's plan to show both Fahrenheit 9/11 and the anti-Moore documentary Fahrenhype 9/11 October 28. Kern added, "It was the emotional character of the response that indicated we had to cancel this and it was becoming a public safety issue."

The acting town manager of Highland Beach, Florida, wrote Library Director Mari Suarez that it was ill-advised to show a film critical of President Bush four days before the election. Suarez said in the October 31 Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel that despite her feelings, she "complied with my manager's request."

The Farmington (Conn.) Public Library postponed its screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 until 2005 after some two dozen callers protested the original November 1 show time.

San Diego Public Library also put off its October 31 screening of Fahrenheit 9/11, rescheduling it for November 6, when it was shown on a double bill with Fahrenhype 9/11. "We are a place of ideas, but there needs to be a balance," SDPL Director Anna Tatar explained in the November 1 San Diego Union-Tribune. …

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